Sea vessels

Steel Cut On Royal Navy's First Type 31 Frigate

The first steel has been cut on the Royal Navy's first Type 31 frigate has begun.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace officially cut the steel for HMS Venturer during a ceremony at Rosyth dockyard.

Five Type 31s are to be built by defence firm Babcock on the Firth of Forth and each warship is expected to cost about £250m.

They will replace the current Type 23 frigates, with the first new ship expected to enter service with the Navy by 2027.

Mr Wallace said the steel cutting ceremony was a "momentous occasion for the Type 31 programme, defence and the shipbuilding industry in Scotland".

"Equipped with the innovative technologies at the forefront of the Royal Navy's future vision, the entire Type 31 fleet will be fitted with a range of capabilities allowing it to undertake a variety of operations at sea," he said.

The Type 31s will be fitted with the supersonic anti-air missile defence system Sea Ceptor, a 57mm and two 40mm Bofors naval guns and a 4D radar system.

The ships will also be able to operate Merlin or Wildcat helicopters.

A recent Government document outlining the plans for the UK Armed Forces highlighted the importance of the Type 31 for future Royal Navy operations.

Computer generated image of a Type 31 frigates at sea
Computer-generated image of Type 31 frigates at sea (Picture: MOD).

The Defence Command Paper, published in March, stated the Type 31s will be "key to our forward presence" in areas including the South Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean and Pacific Ocean.

The entire Type 31 fleet is expected to be delivered by the end of 2028 and to enter service with the Royal Navy by the end of 2030, with the first expected in the water in 2023.

Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine, said "this is an exciting time for the Royal Navy".

"The Type 31 represents the very best of British shipbuilding and with its modular design will be configurable to meet the needs of both the Royal Navy and our allies around the world, now and into the future. 

"Type 31s will operate across the globe with sustained forward presence, further signifying our intent of being a global navy and the foremost naval power in Europe."

Known as the Inspiration Class, the five Type 31s all take their names from former warships and submarines whose missions and history are intended to inspire.

The ships are called HMS Venturer, HMS Active, HMS Bulldog, HMS Campbeltown and HMS Formidable.

The Type 31 programme is expected to support 1,250 jobs at Babcock, 1,250 in the supply chain and create a further 150 apprenticeships.